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A thought on Stabilization

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Dale Paquette
A thought on Stabilization
on Jun 10, 2009 at 10:18:10 am

Has anyone tried this - my Canon HV30 is really small and lightweight and thus shakes with every little body movement and breeze that comes along. I am contemplating adding some weight probably where the tripod mount is to give it enough inertia to "resist" every little shake. I'm thinking this might be coupled with some kind of arm to allow the cam to rest on my shoulder. Just curious, Dale


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Mark Suszko
Re: A thought on Stabilization
on Jun 10, 2009 at 2:11:56 pm

Your post suggests to me that the tripod may be a little on the weak side. WHat kind of tripod is it?


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Dale Paquette
Re: A thought on Stabilization
on Jun 10, 2009 at 3:17:21 pm

Mark, when I use a tripod, I have a relatively cheap Veblon. My question relates more to hand held work. In other words, a very poor man's glidecam or equivalent stabilizer. Dale


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Todd Terry
Re: A thought on Stabilization
on Jun 10, 2009 at 3:36:41 pm

Yes Dale.... weight=stability, so if you can figure out a way to add some heft to your little camera you will definitely find it more stable for handheld work.

The shoulder brace idea might prove helpful as well... if you want to go super ultra cheap, there are the braces from this guy...

http://spiderbrace.com/

These are definitely not high-end cine equipment... they are very inexpensively made braces built out of PVC pipe and electrical conduit parts. I bought one just for fun, and to see how it was made. It actually does work pretty well (although I heavily modified mine for my particular camera). You could make one yourself with about fifteen bucks and a trip to Home Depot... although this guy's are so cheap your time may be worth more than the unit's cost and it winds up just cheaper to buy one.

If you want to step up, a variety of vendors make more professional-grade units that operate similarly.

However...

You were looking for a "poor man's Glidecam," so keep in mind that a Steadicam (or any other type of floating stabilizer) should NOT rest or your shoulder or any other body part... the idea is for the camera to float independently from your body's frame. With a tiny camera like yours, and easy/quick/cheap solution is to put the camera on a short but hefty monopod... and simply hold the monopod just a bit above the center of gravity and walk with it... then your own arm becomes the Steadicam arm. Although even with very light cameras that can get tiring very quickly.


T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com






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Dale Paquette
Re: A thought on Stabilization
on Jun 10, 2009 at 4:24:39 pm

Todd, I'll take a look at the site you recommended. The prices seem fine, though I am a tinkerer and might try a version on my own. I did try the mono-pod idea but feel the point where it's held really needs to pivot freely to work optimally. My next step, I think, is to add a pound or so (maybe more) to the cam perhaps in the form of a bolt full of large washers screwed into the tripod mount hole. If the washers aren't too big, this might even serve as a handle. Anyway, finding the right weight might be the hardest part. Thanks for you thoughts. Dale



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Mark Suszko
Re: A thought on Stabilization
on Jun 10, 2009 at 6:43:37 pm

I like the Manfrotto FigRig, but not their price. So, I made one out of a kid's used bicycle rim and some steel strapping for under ten bucks, works great. The main point with those tiny wrist-held camcorders is the ergonomics of the wrist support are awful. By putting the camera on any kind of platform that lets your hands grip at the sides, at shoulder-width, your whole upper body, and both elbows now contribute to smooth, stable positioning, while standing as well as in motion. As level as a real steadicam on an arm? No, but actually pretty close. You can do it with the bike rim or with just a pair of hand grips jutting out to either side of the camera body. In these cases, you keep the lens wide and physically move the camera instead of zooming, and your shots will look even MORE stable.


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Rick Wise
Re: A thought on Stabilization
on Jun 10, 2009 at 8:01:43 pm

There's another route to consider with these very light cameras: working out. Building up your shoulders and forearms and wrists will do wonders for stabilization. That's something to consider doing at least 3 times a week, forever.

Another aspect is how you hold the camera. If you hold it up at eye level it's much, much harder to hold steady than if you hold it down hear your chest. If it's too bright to see the LCD flipout then add a cheap, light hood to it. At this position, of course, you end up shooting up at most people, which often works well but not always.

Here's a shoulder mount rig that looks quite good to me, especially for a heavier camera like an EX1 or 3: http://www.dynamicmotionvideo.com/products/cb105.php I say, LOOKS, because I have not yet tried it.

If you want to make your own, do a Googlesearch for: shoulder mount make your own. Many solutions.

Finally, there are relatively cheap steadying devices that work with a simple gimble, such as the Glidecam 1000, 2000, or 4000. The trouble with these is that you are supporting all weight on your forearm, and even if you work out a lot, you are very limited as to the time you can shoot this way. There are sites that will show you how to make your own for various prices starting, I think, around $15.

Rick Wise
director of photography
and custom lighting design
Oakland, CA
http://www.RickWiseDP.com
http://www.linkedin.com/in/rwise
email: Rick@RickWiseDP.com


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Phil Radelat
Re: A thought on Stabilization
on Jun 12, 2009 at 6:41:46 am

How 'bout one of these?







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Dale Paquette
Re: A thought on Stabilization
on Jun 30, 2009 at 12:46:42 pm

Cool. This looks pretty good. In fact, it looks so simple I think I'll throw together a mock up and, if it works, purchase a manufactured version. I'll keep you all posted. Thanks, dale


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